Friday, September 28, 2012

Guess Who's Coming To Where We're Going For Dinner?

This was my Facebook status today: "Natasha hopes she can clean the whole house, do laundry, change bedding, wash dishes, finish weeding the boulevard AND surprise her husband tonight. That's today's list folks." And I managed to do it all. Yay me :)

Now granted, our house only takes two hours to clean and Sam and Rachel obliged by playing some game they invented together this morning and didn't pull all the toys off the shelf. They only used a big red ball. Rachel napped while Sam was at preschool which allowed me to get a lot done. And I do still have one load of laundry left to fold and put away.

And the boulevard (finished pictures coming next week!) only had a half hour of weeding left to do. It's been a massive, ongoing project which I've been working on here and there for two weeks now.

But the best part of today was having a surprise date night with Dave. I got this brainwave as I walked over to my ride to book club's house on Sunday. My ride's daughter babysits for us so I asked her if she was free tonight. So when Dave got home our babysitter was here and all he had to do was change and decide where to go from a list of places I gave him. He picked McCabe's Irish Pub.
It worked out really well because we had a coupon for 25% off and Dave had a gift card he got from there a few weeks ago when he had to wait an hour and a half for pizza. They felt bad and gave him money! So our total cost of dinner, including tip was $7. Pretty good for a date, eh?
I had a Greek salad and potato skins, which were really more like half a potato each. Dave had steak and Guiness pie and sweet potato fries. We ate a lot of food. See?
Then we walked to William's and I had hot apple cider and Dave had coffee and Black Forest Cheesecake. And I only ate like two bites of his cheesecake because I was sooooo full. Dave was even fuller because he ate two of my potato skins too. It was awesome to have a chance to talk just the two of us for a couple of hours. What with Jewish holidays, full time work, birthday parties and various other things going on we haven't had a ton of time to connect. So that was our lovely date. And the main conclusion we came to tonight was that we need to do this more often!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Gross

Sub-Title: Why I Blog: Part 2
(WARNING: Picture of my open toilet ahead. It's not too gross. But now you've been warned.)

Today I am taking care of my friend's son, Jeremiah. While Sam and Jeremiah were playing very nicely together, Rachel was fussing and needed to go down for nap. So I brought her upstairs and took advantage of the opportunity to go to the bathroom. I decided I didn't want to listen to her cry in her crib so I let her roam the bathroom, as I've done many times before. Except this time, when I finished, I closed the lid as usual, and before I could get my foot on the lid (to hold it down while I washed my hands), Rachel opened it and dropped the bath toy she was holding into the toilet. Which I hadn't yet had a chance to flush. Ewwwwwwwww.
As I put Rachel down for her nap, I contemplated my options. Option 1: Flush the fish and hope it made its merry way down the sewer. The most tempting option by far except for the potential sewer-backing-up and Sam-notices-his-fish-toy-is-missing-and-mourns-forever implications. Option 2: Retrieve the fish and garbage it. Also tempting except for the above Sam noticing implications and, if the worst part was retrieving it, then why not save it? Option 3: Retrieve the fish, save it, avoid Sam-noticing implications and have a great story to blog about! I decided to go with option 3. I used the kitchen tongs and a plastic container to hold the fish after its great adventure. (Mostly so that it didn't drip reminders of its great adventure throughout the house.) Then I put on some gloves, used a lot of soap and hot water and washed them all thoroughly. Then I put the dishcloth in the laundry.
Then I boiled everything for half an hour to sterilize it.
And now I have a drying fish, tongs and container in the dish rack. And Sam's only annoyance is that I wouldn't let him play with the tongs before I had washed and sterilized them.

And this gets back to why I blog. Why wouldn't I want to remember a day like today? Remember how gross parenting can be. Remember the lengths you will go to for your kids. And provide all of you with a laugh and a sigh of relief that it wasn't you. At least not today.

What would you have done? Would you have kept the fish?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yom Kippur

Today was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Along with Rosh Hashanah, it is one of the two most important Jewish holidays, and involves attending several services, fasting, and generally trying to be contemplative and contrite for the day. How, you might ask, does this holiday of solemnity and seriousness fit with two young children? Read on...

We had initially planned on Dave going to the 10 o'clock morning service on his own (following everyone's attendance at the previous evening's service), and then we would all go to the afternoon service. However, at about 9:30, Sam decided that he wanted to go to the morning service, after all. The fact that there was a kids' service starting at 10:45 helped immensely with the feasibility of this idea, so we decided to go with the flow. After some very quick outfit changes, a rapid stocking of the diaper bag/quiet activity supplies, we were off to the morning service. Dave still got to attend (most of) the service, while Sam, Rachel and Natasha went to the kids' service, which involved some crafts, stories, etc.

Then it was time to head home, do another quick outfit change and turnaround, and get Sam ready for his afternoon at pre-school. Dave got to do the pick-up and drop-off, which was a nice change of pace. Sam knows the routine pretty well by now, so he was able to help Dave figure out what to do :)

Once Sam's pre-school afternoon was complete, it was time for yet another outfit change, getting everyone organized, and back to synagogue for the afternoon service. Before we left, Natasha took the opportunity to take some pictures of the kids in their dress clothes. Sam was quite insistent on reading a book during these pictures, hence the presence of "Blue Hat, Green Hat" in the first photo...

Sam and Rachel, in a slightly more "traditional" pose

The kids managed to make it through a little over an hour of the afternoon service, which included Dave reading from the Torah, something he hadn't really done since his bar mitzvah 18 years ago. Fortunately, it was a pretty brief reading (a few verses), and all went well.
Dave outside the Cedars, a building his synagogue shares with a United Church.

Finally, it was time to head home for a breaking-the-fast meal of take-out pizza (mmm... meaty pizza... :) and a handy-woman challenge of hanging a bulletin board for Sam's growing collection of arts and crafts projects.
Sam posing with various items from pre-school, church, synagogue, etc.

And finally, here is a random picture of Rachel doing what appears to be some kind of leg stretches while watching Natasha hang the bulletin board. We're not quite sure what was going on here, but she certainly looks cute :)
"I'm effortlessly touching my toes, Daddy. What? Can't you do this, too?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

A few weeks ago, Sherry answered the question, "Why Do I Blog?" and I thought that was a great topic for a post. So I'm answering it today. This blog started as a way to keep our friends up to date as Dave and I moved from Ontario to Alberta five years ago. (Here is the first blog post I ever wrote. It was scintillating!) Fortunately we started it in time to fully document our trip to Europe in July 2007. You can read those posts here.

Then we documented our trip halfway across Canada, our early time in Edmonton, and then we got engaged and this blog documented our wedding preparations. (August 2007-June 2008). I didn't do much documenting of my pregnancy with Sam but you can read early 2009 posts for that. Then Sam was born and blogging fell by the wayside for a bit. Mid-2009 I discovered that I could upload videos to share with my and Dave's parents and that covered most of 2009!
In 2010 I blogged about an Edmonton Zoo program which Sam and I did and was a gift from Dave's aunt and uncle. Every week they could read about what Sam did with their gift that day. In May 2010 we landscaped our landlord's backyard and that got a lot of blog attention from us, as did our trip to Vienna (which was fully written by Dave, by the way!)

Mid-September 2010 I tried to blog again but got pregnant with Rachel soon after, got extremely sick and forgot I had a blog. Then I discovered Kelly's Korner and read all her archives. I loved the fact that she had blogged a lot through her infertility journey, her pregnancy with Harper, and then her life with Harper. I wanted that for me so I made a resolution to blog every day. And in 2011 I almost did it!
I have dozens of half-started journals from throughout my life and I realized a few weeks ago that my blog is the longest running journal I've ever managed to keep. It is so much fun to go back and look at posts and remember what my life was like when I only had one child! Or when Rachel was really little. Or when we were in the midst of wedding planning. Or our various trips to Europe.

And now I blog to remember our lives, which is why some random pictures are interspersed throughout this post. And because I love it. And because my mom phones me when I haven't posted in a day or two (Hi Mom! The random pictures are also for you.). And because I have found some bloggy friends and I feel like we've made (unspoken) commitments to each other to share our lives. If I want to read about Erika, Sherry (who I linked to above), Kelly, Amy or Tiffany then I should be letting them read about me too. I really enjoy getting to know these women (and others) through their blogs and friendship is a two-way street.
So now I blog for myself, for my kids (to preserve their memories), for my mom, and for those of you who read my posts, comment on them, and allow me to do the same for you.

And that's why I blog.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's Play

If you are looking for me on Monday mornings I will likely be at Let's Play, a playgroup at my church which has been meeting for about seventeen years now. I used to go to it with a little girl from our church who I nannyed. I am so glad that it is still around so I can take my kids and they can enjoy all the toys. Some things don't change like the toys, the snacks for the kids and some of the songs we end with. However I am still getting to know the moms and their kids. It is people from our church but also people who don't go to our church so I don't know everyone. But it is so fun to watch Sam and Rachel play with all the kids and it is good to have some adult conversation. I love Let's Play and I'm so glad my kids get to enjoy it too. (By the way, Sam's car was in an accident which is why it was on its end. Fortunately neither the car nor the driver received any damages or injuries!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hymn of the Week

The hymn of the week for this week is For The Beauty of the Earth. (Words can be found here, although I did not know there was a sixth verse.) This hymn was written by Folliot Sandford Pierpoint as a poem intended for Communion Services in the Anglican Church. Now it is usually considered a Thanksgiving Hymn, although it isn't yet Canadian Thanksgiving.

It is a rare hymn in that it is devoted solely to giving thanks. In the original version the last line was "Christ, Our God, to Thee we raise / This our sacrifice of praise." How often do we give thanks? This hymn challenges us to appreciate all we have and to be thankful to God who has blessed us with everything. As the author of my book points out ironically, "The more we have the less thankful we are." Take time today to give thanks.

And on that note, I give thanks for my family. You get a few pictures today because Sam took the pictures of Rachel above and the one below.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's A Small World After All

Today Sam was invited to Eve's birthday party. Eve is the little girl who lives two doors down. She and Sam have played together a few times. Rachel and I were also invited. I didn't think Sam would know anyone else there but it turns out that Raya from Sunday School is in the same daycare as Eve so she was there too! (Sherry pointed out that she didn't know what the costumes were about and I realized that I didn't explain that the theme of the party was animals and so there were a ton of animal costumes for kids to wear. Sam, of course, didn't want to wear an animal costume so he wore a firefighter one. Sorry about leaving out that detail. Mostly I just posted these pictures because Miss Rachel was an adorable puppy and Sam was a funny firefighter!)
The party was a really cute animal theme and Sam ended up with a lion cupcake. His middle Hebrew name means "lion" so the lion is an animal we really associate with Sam. And when the party was over it turns out that I knew another one of the moms whose daughter was there. Kathy went to school with my cousin and so I'd seen her around but not for a few years. It really is a small world!

And another cool thing happened yesterday while I was sorting through those bags of clothes I mentioned. I found this t-shirt:
This is a t-shirt Dave and I brought back for Tessa (probably) from our trip to Tenerife in the Canary Islands in July 2007. It was before we were engaged, and a few years before we had kids. I totally shrieked when I saw it, started to laugh, and ran upstairs to show Dave. It's so awesome that our kids will get to enjoy this shirt too! (You can read more about our Canary Islands trip (and the rest of the Europe trip too) in our blog archives.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'd Rather Be Blogging, But...

...I got a bunch of clothes today (the black plastic bags) from a friend for when Sam and Rachel are bigger and I need to sort through them. Plus, as you might be able to tell, the living room needs to be tidied.
...dishes need to done, even though the kids are entertained by spinning lettuce to dry and having Daddy read a book.
...can you see the pile of papers I need to deal with on my desk? The top book is my Sunday School book meaning that I need to lesson plan for Sunday.
So even though I'd rather be blogging I should probably deal with all those tasks. Until I have time to blog here are some self-portraits of Rachel Roo and I from yesterday when we were enjoying some non-napping time together. I think she has a bit of a cold which is why her eyes are a little runny.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fifteen Months!

Rachel you are fifteen months old!
I didn't get a chance to write a post for you last month so this post combines things that happened in your fourteenth and fifteenth month. I weighed you this morning and you now weigh 20 pounds, 15 ounces. You're starting to put on some more weight Rachel which is awesome! You still wear a size three diaper and you are now wearing 12-18 or 18 month clothes. You have also moved into size 18 month sleepers.
You go to bed around 8:30 or 9 and you sleep through the night, although the past few nights you have been having a rough go of it. I'm not used to that anymore! You still go down with a bottle of milk and if Daddy is putting you down he sings to you and Mommy puts on the Kindermusik lullaby CD. You sleep with Funny Bunny and with Lobster, who became your friend after our trip to New Brunswick. You mostly now just lie there until you fall asleep although once in awhile you still cry. You don't take a morning nap anymore, except one day when you woke up at 6:30. But you usually wake up around 8 now. I put you down for your afternoon nap anytime between 1 and 2:30 and you sleep about two - three hours. On Wednesdays and Fridays now Sam is going to preschool so you only get to nap from 1:20 until about 3pm which is a little short for you.

You still have fifteen teeth now. (And you might have sixteen but you won't let me check your back molar to see if it's in yet!) People still comment on how toothy you are.
You eat two yogurts for breakfast and some Cheerios. Sometimes a bit of Mommy's bagel, if she's willing to share, and sometimes some toast. For lunch you eat leftovers and then for supper you eat what we do. You really like eggs, bread and cheese. You had your first corn on the cob at Oma and Opa's and loved it. You also LOVE green beans.
Sometime in month thirteen you stopped nursing. It makes me sad because I remember the exact time, place and day I stopped nursing Sam but I don't remember when yours was. Oh well. You really like drinking out of your sippy cup and you also have milk to go down for nap.
You still talk and scream and coo but you still don't have clear words. We are trying to teach you to say "Yum yum yum!" instead of screaming to get food and sometimes you say it and then scream! Which isn't the point but it makes me laugh. You like to wave "bye bye" and you love blowing kisses. When Daddy comes home from work you practically jump out of my arms in excitement and crawl over to him and bounce until he picks you up.
You like to pull yourself up to standing against things and you do very well at standing on your own. Right before your 14 month birthday you took about four steps a few times but since then it's just been one or two. You don't really seem to want to walk. When we put you down on your feet you stand there for a few seconds and then drop to your bum to crawl. Daddy almost always gives you a bath and just in the past few weeks you have stopped screaming during your bath and you play and play. I think Daddy has more fun with your bath now!
You and Sam still get along so well, most of the time. Sometimes he says, "Mommy, take Rachel away from me" but more often he wants you to play in his room with him with the door closed. A couple of weeks ago you guys played together in there for almost two hours. You really like making big messes together. You follow Sam around and he calls you silly names he makes up like "Kid-rope." You just adore him. You like to play in his room and turn his computer on and off.
You still like playing with the shoes on the shoe rack, doing anything in Sam's room, standing at the water table outside, and reading books to yourself in your crib. I love watching you discover books Rachel. You also like eating crumbs off the floor and deadheading Mommy's flowers, whether they need it or not. You also like to help with laundry, especially the piles Mommy has already folded and put away. Your favourite thing to do in the dining room is pull the placemats off the shelf or the recycling out of the bin.

You are getting so much bigger everyday Rachel. It's hard to believe that last fall you were such a little baby. About a year ago I wrote your first month post (at three months old) and you were so litte compared to now. We love you so very much Rachel Roo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today Was A Random Day

At least all the pictures I have to show you are just random slices of life from today. First of all I did a whole bunch of dishes while the kids pulled EVERYTHING off their toy shelf in the dining room. It was a huge mess which I didn't clean up. Dave did it when he came home after work.
Then when Sam was at preschool and Rachel was napping, I continued on with my "weed the boulevard" project. Dave and I tackled this a number of times throughout the summer but we never got it completely done. Well last Friday (while it was raining mind you!) I decided that I was having at it once and for all. So I started at one end and as of today, I am halfway through. And except for Monday, I've been out there for at least a bit every day. Yay!

After I picked Sam up from school we walked to the library to get some books. I love seeing the leaves change colours and Sam loves picking up big sticks! (I can't figure out how to format the size of pictures in the stupid new Blogger layout so sorry these pictures look dumb together. Have I mentioned before that I. HATE. CHANGE. Just leave good enough alone in my opinion. sigh. (Okay, now I've figured out how to mess with the html code (I just want to blog; I don't want to code.) but I can't figure out how to get rid of the extra line. Boo.))

Then we went to the grocery store to...uh, get some groceries. I know, not what you were expecting, right!?! Rachel enjoyed her free cookie and I enjoyed the other half of her cookies because there was no way I was letting her eat an entire big one!
And I'm sorry random lady at the grocery store that I corrected your mis-hearing of what Sam said. I understand that hearing him say, "Hello Dear Lady!" was very sweet and I shouldn't have informed you that what he had said was actually, "Hello there Lady!" But thank you for calling my kids sweet. I really appreciate it.

Tonight we are going to go watch Dave (and the rest of the team) play slo-pitch for Waterloo North. It's the (B Side) Championship Game so we're all going even though it only starts at 9. Should be a fun day tomorrow with everyone all tired out from being up late tonight but Daddy needs his fan base!

PS. Hopefully I'll soon figure out this new Blogger interface and learn how to format my pictures properly (meaning -- the way I like them) and then I can stop complaining about change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Promises Kept

Here are some videos from our visit to Mighty Machines and our visit to the airport this past weekend. Enjoy! First of all is Sam honking the horn on the mini excavator.

Next Sam got to operate some sort of truck.
Then Sam picked up a recycling bin for us.
And finally, here's the video of the airport firetruck spraying water. I told you it was really awesome :)
And that's all I have for today. Sam has had diarrhea since yesterday afternoon. It's not even noon yet and I've already changed SEVEN of his diapers today. Needless to say, our morning plans of going out were cancelled and, at the rate it's raining right now, our evening plans of going to watch Dave play slo-pitch will also be cancelled. And Miss Rachel Roo was wide awake at 7am today. She usually sleeps until 9. And she was up twice last night. Some days are better than others and I can just tell, today's going to be one of THOSE days.

On the bright side, Rachel has taken a few steps on her own today!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shanah Tovah! (Happy New Year!)

Today was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. To celebrate this holiday, we all went to synagogue for services in the morning, and despite the lack of a childrens' service (which we had thought was happening), Sam and Rachel were able to be there for the Torah reading, hear the shofar, and throw bread into the river for Tashlich, so they had a pretty full experience.

Following the service, we went back to my (Dave's) parents' house for a potluck lunch and general get-together with a group of family friends. It was the first time that many of them had met Rachel (and, in some cases, Sam as well), so it was great to re-connect with them.

We did not really take too many pictures during the day, so here are some miscellaneous cute pictures of Sam and Rachel (mostly) :) Enjoy!
Hanging out in the living room at my parents' house.
Enjoying a mid-afternoon bottle.
Towards the end of the afternoon, we had fun singing a mix of Jewish tunes and folk songs.
I joined in on the guitar :)Rachel had fun playing with a helicopter during the singing,
although in this picture she appears to be trying to eat one of the rotors.
After her bath tonight, Rachel's hair was veering off madly in all directions,
so we took advantage of the opportunity to get several...... very cute...... pictures of our bathing beauty :)